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Kathleen Ell - USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Los Angeles, CA, US

Kathleen Ell Kathleen Ell

Ernest P. Larson Professor of Health Ethnicity and Poverty Professor of Social Work | USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work


Dr. Ell researches health care-seeking behavior, major depression, general psychological distress, quality of life, and morbidity



Kathleen Ell Publication Kathleen Ell Publication






Kathleen Ell has conducted extensive research on health care-seeking behavior, major depression, general psychological distress, quality of life and morbidity, and mortality associated with life-threatening illness and chronic illness. A hallmark of her research and numerous publications has been a focus on low-income and ethnically diverse populations.

Education (3)

University of California, Los Angeles: D. S. W. 1978

University of California, Los Angeles: M. S. W. 1966

Valparaiso University: B. A.

Areas of Expertise (4)

Low-Income & Excluded Populations Depression and Mental Illness Cancer diagnostics Seniors

Industry Expertise (4)

Public Policy Research Education/Learning Social Services

Accomplishments (4)

Health Care Innovations Exchange, “Multifaceted Depression and Diabetes Program,” Agency for Healthcare Resarch and Quality (professional)


Research-Tested Interventions NCI Program, "Project SAFe," National Cancer Institute (professional)


Faculty of 1000 Medicine Selected Published Article (professional)


Fellow, Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (professional)



Media Appearances (2)

Global experts convene to drive military research

USC News  


The inaugural summit was the first step in developing a national research agenda that would target the most critical issues facing service members, veterans and military families in the next decade. Titled “Closing the Gap,” it was funded by 
Kathleen Ell, Ernest P. Larson Professor of Health, Ethnicity, and Poverty at USC, and Deloitte.

Ell, who has focused her career on research involving vulnerable populations, wanted to support an effort that could produce more research that tackled veteran and military family issues holistically.

“We don’t want research to be done because it’s expected by a university. We want it to be done because people need us to better understand them, to better understand their needs and to better create ways to assist them,” she said. “There is still much we do not understand.”...

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Social work and engineering join forces to solve societal woes

USC News  


One notable achievement has been the transition of an engineering faculty member to the School of Social Work. Associate professor Shinyi Wu now holds a joint position with both departments after making the decision to join social work due to collaboration with Kathleen Ell, Ernest P. Larson Professor of Health, Ethnicity, and Poverty. Ell and Wu worked to find ways to use technology to improve support for patients with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and heart disease...

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Articles & Publications (5)

Collaborative care management of major depression among low-income, predominantly hispanic subjects with diabetes Diabetes care

Kathleen Ell, Wayne Katon, Bin Xie, Pey-Jiuan Lee, Suad Kapetanovic, Jeffrey Guterman, Chih-Ping Chou


To determine whether evidence-based socioculturally adapted collaborative depression care improves receipt of depression care and depression and diabetes outcomes in low-income Hispanic subjects.

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Cancer treatment adherence among low-income women with breast or gynecologic cancer Cancer

Kathleen Ell, Betsy Vourlekis, Bin Xie, Frances R Nedjat‐Haiem, Pey‐Jiuan Lee, Laila Muderspach, Christy Russell, Lawrence A Palinkas


The authors implemented a controlled, randomized trial that compared 2 interventions: the provision of written resource navigation information (enhanced usual care [EUC]) versus written information plus patient navigation (TPN) aimed at improving adjuvant treatment adherence and follow-up among 487 low-income, predominantly Hispanic women with breast cancer or gynecologic cancer.

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Randomized controlled trial of collaborative care management of depression among low-income patients with cancer Journal of Clinical Oncology

Kathleen Ell, Bin Xie, Brenda Quon, David I Quinn, Megan Dwight-Johnson, Pey-Jiuan Lee


To determine the effectiveness of the Alleviating Depression Among Patients With Cancer (ADAPt-C) collaborative care management for major depression or dysthymia.

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Patient navigation and case management following an abnormal mammogram: a randomized clinical trial Preventative Medicine

Kathleen Ell, Betsy Vourlekis, Pey-Jiuan Lee, Bin Xie


A high rate of low-income, ethnic minority women delay or fail to keep appointments following abnormal mammograms. This study was designed to test the effectiveness of a structured counseling and patient navigation intervention for improving follow-up rates at a large public sector medical center. Methods. This randomized clinical trial, conducted in Los Angeles 2001–2002, included 204 women with abnormal mammograms referred for follow-up who were then assigned to intervention or usual care.

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Depression, correlates of depression, and receipt of depression care among low-income women with breast or gynecologic cancer Journal of Clinical Oncology

Kathleen Ell, Kathleen Sanchez, Betsy Vourlekis, Pey-Jiuan Lee, Megan Dwight-Johnson, Isabel Lagomasino, Laila Muderspach, Christy Russell


To assess the prevalence of depression among low-income, ethnic minority women with breast or gynecologic cancer, receipt of antidepressant medications or counseling services, and correlates of depression. Patients and Methods Study patients were 472 women receiving cancer care in an urban public medical center. Women had a primary diagnosis of breast (stage 0 to III) or gynecologic cancer (International Federation of Gynecology and Obstetrics stage 0 to IIIB).

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